A tradition of greatness:
years of UT Martin Rodeo
CHANCELLOR’S Dr. Keith Carver, UT Martin Chancellor
Walt Disney once said that “we keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” I love that quote. Educational institutions are built on curiosity and the pursuit of knowledge. Curiosity has stimulated faculty and students at the University of Tennessee at Martin since our humble beginnings in 1900. We are constantly moving, evolving and changing. To this end, your university has embarked on a five-year strategic plan. We began this journey last fall and plan to complete our work later this summer. We are engaging internal and external stakeholders in the process, and we will present a plan that defines our priorities and develops aspirational goals for UT Martin’s future. I look forward to sharing the complete plan with you later this year. In the meantime, please keep up with our progress on our strategic planning initiative at utm.edu/strategic. I would appreciate your feedback. It’s my desire for UT Martin to continue moving forward and opening doors for years to come. Come journey with us. Sky’s is the limit.
Dr. Keith S. Carver Jr.
Dr. Keith Carver, Chancellor The University of Tennessee at Martin Published semiannually by The University of Tennessee at Martin Martin, Tenn. 38238 Dr. Joe DiPietro, President The University of Tennessee System Andy Wilson Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Dr. Charley Deal Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations
Dr. John Glass Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages
Dr. John Glass, associate professor of English, has taught and studied in some faraway places – from Paris, France, to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba – and brings a wide variety of experiences and ideas to the UT Martin Department of English and Modern Foreign Languages. Glass’s teaching career did not begin as planned when he arrived in Nîmes, France. He arrived prepared to teach high school English only to discover he had been reassigned to a primary school. “We read fewer books than I’d planned,” he said, “but we sang a lot more.” Glass ultimately found himself at home in a college classroom, and his academic interests in Southern literature, poetry and Modernism came together in his 2016 study “Allen Tate: The Modern Mind and the Discovery of Enduring Love.” “I feel very fortunate for the way UT Martin has allowed and encouraged me to blend teaching opportunities with the work I get to do with colleagues across campus,” he said. Glass and Dr. Charles Bradshaw, associate professor of English, are currently collaborating on a critical edition of the 19th-century American novel “Nick of the Woods” by Robert Montgomery Bird. This fall also holds new challenges for Glass as he takes on the additional role as director of the UT Martin Honors Program. “I am hopeful that the Honors Program will maintain and strengthen all its best elements and add to those a challenging, core curricular experience – one that provides an intellectual foundation to enhance whatever major a student chooses to pursue,” he said. “The goal is that Honors Program students will leave UT Martin as highly capable critical thinkers who have engaged the works and the intellectual traditions that have shaped the culture in which they live.”
Nathan Morgan Campus Scene Editor, Assistant Director of University Relations and Coordinator of Photographic Services Editorial Contributions Erin Chesnut (‘12); Charley Deal (‘92, ‘96); Bud Grimes (‘78); Nathan Morgan; Ryne Rickman Design and Layout David Deaton (‘10) Photo Contributions Bud Grimes; Raffe Lazarian; Nathan Morgan Copy Editors Erin Chesnut; Norma Coalter; Bud Grimes Original story ideas, photo ideas and manuscripts may be used at the editor’s discretion. Photos and submitted works cannot be returned. Some interviews are conducted via email and other electronic means. Unless otherwise noted, all towns and cities mentioned are located in Tennessee. Campus Scene is not a news magazine. Comments and feedback may be directed to Nathan Morgan, Campus Scene Editor, email@example.com, 304 Administration Building, Martin, TN 38238, 731-881-7617. 41,500 copies printed by Geographics, Atlanta, Ga.
24 F E AT UR E S
D EPARTM EN TS
SCENE & HEARD
MISSIONARY RETURNS TO EARN DEGREE From missionary field to classroom By Bud Grimes
26 FROM THE ARCHIVES Ridley Wills’ postcard collection By Nathan Morgan
THE 28 PROTECTING PUBLIC Don Green closes four decades of
7 NOTEWORTHY News and views from on- and off-campus
17 ADVANCEMENT 18 ATHLETICS
ALUMNI NEWS 50 51 57 58
THE REAL DEAL SPOTLIGHT ON ALUMS IN MEMORY CLASS NOTES
The who, what, when and where
service By Erin Chesnut
32 SEMPER FI
UTM alum makes Marine Corps history By Erika I. Ritchie, Orange County Register
TRADITION OF 36 AGREATNESS 50 years of UT Martin Rodeo By Ryne Rickman
COMMITTED TO SERVING CHILDREN MudPies CEO has a calling to work with kids
cdf UTMartin m DiscoverUTM utm.edu/photos utm.edu/campusscene
By Laurie D. Willis, Black Business Ink.
Volume XCV Winter/Spring 2018
The University of Tennessee is an EEO/AA/Title VI/Title IX/ Section 504/ADA/ADEA institution in the provision of its education and employment programs and services. All qualified applicants will receive equal consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, or covered veteran status. Inquiries should be directed to the Office of Equity and Diversity (OED), 303 Administration Building, Martin, TN 38238, (731) 881-3505 Office, (731) 8814889 TTY, Hearing Impaired, (731) 881-3507 Fax, firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.utm.edu/departments/equalopp/. In compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (The Clery Act), UTM’s annual security report includes statistics for the previous three years concerning reported crimes that occurred on or around the campus and UTM’s emergency response and evacuation procedures. You can view the report at http://www.utm.edu/departments/ finadmin/publicsafety/annualreport.php or you may obtain a paper copy of the report by contacting the Office of Public Safety, 215 Hurt Street, Martin, TN 38238 or calling (731) 881-7777. Data on intercollegiate athletics program participation rates and financial support may be found at http://www.utm.edu/webshare/consumer_docs/09-10%20DOE-EADA%20Report.pdf and printed copies may be obtained through the Office of Intercollegiate Athletics, 1022 Elam Center, Martin, TN 38238 or by calling (731) 881-7660. E05-0425-00-018-18
A “GRANDIN” EXPERIENCE Dr. Temple Grandin, an internationally-known animal behaviorist and autism advocate, speaks to a capacity crowd Feb. 13 in the Skyhawk fieldhouse at Ut Martin. Her presentation, titled “Developing Individuals Who Have Different Kinds of Minds,” was sponsored by the Ed and Llew Jones Distinguished Lecture Series. Grandin focused her comments on the value of individuals who see the world differently than those around them, such as those on the autism spectrum and those with other learning difficulties such as dyslexia. Read more on page 13, or visit utm.edu/ campusscene to see photos and a video of Grandin’s presentation.
Visit utm.edu/tour to schedule a tour or to take a virtual tour.
Questions? Contact us at 731-881-7020
NOTEWORTHY 7 ATHLETICS 17 ADVANCEMENT 18
NEW LOCATION The UT Martin Jackson Center is now located at Jackson State Community College. See story on page 14.
SCENE & HEARD
LATIMER RECEIVES SERVICE AWARD Bill Latimer, of Union City, was one of four University of Tennessee graduates honored for exceptional service to the university during the annual UT President’s Council Awards Dinner on Jan. 26 in Knoxville. Latimer graduated from UT Knoxville in 1960 with a degree in engineering and is a 1996 graduate of the WestStar Leadership Program. He currently serves on the UT President’s Council and has previously served on the UT Martin Fundraising Advisory Board and the UT Martin Development Committee, as well as in other positions across the UT System. Latimer is most recently noted for making the largest single gift in UT Martin history when he funded the university’s portion of the new science and engineering building, which will bear his name. Latimer (center) is pictured with DiPietro (left) and Dr. Keith Carver, UT Martin chancellor.
BOBBY SEALE SPEAKS AT UT MARTIN Bobby Seale, cofounder of the Black Panther Party, spoke on the UT Martin main campus Feb. 22 as part of the university’s 18th-annual Civil Rights Conference. Seale co-founded the Black Panthers in the 1960s with fellow activist Huey Newton. The pair established the party’s 10-point program, “What We Want, What We Believe,” which declared, “We want freedom. We want power to determine the destiny of our black community.” UT Martin is one of only two universities nationally to host an annual civil rights conference, and the 2018 event included a variety of speakers, discussion panels and performances to mark the 50-year anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
SCENE & HEARD
JOE EXUM AND MIKE MOSS HONORED WITH 2017 UT MARTIN HOMECOMING AWARDS Joe Exum (‘69), formerly of Leland Powell Fasteners in Martin, and Mike Moss (‘63), formerly of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, were honored with alumni awards during Martin’s homecoming festivities Oct. 7. Exum received the Chancellor’s Award for University Service, which recognizes exemplary service to the university. He graduated from UT Martin in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in general business management and was a distinguished graduate from the university’s Army ROTC program. He later served as executive officer of an advanced individual training company at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, and as a tank platoon leader and acting company commander in Vietnam. After his military career, Exum earned a graduate degree in marketing from the University of Alabama in 1972, and his subsequent career included positions with First Federal Savings and Loan Association in West Point, Georgia; Pepsi Cola in Marion, Illinois; and Reelfoot Bank in Union City. He also spent 23 years as chairman of the board of Leland Powell Fasteners in Martin. Exum has served his alma mater in many capacities, including filling positions as chairman of the UT Martin Development Committee, Chancellor’s Roundtable and College of Business Advisory Board; and president of the Weakley County alumni chapter and the UT Martin Skyhawk Club. He has also been a member of the University of Tennessee’s Development Council. Mike Moss received with the Outstanding Alumni Award, which recognizes an alum for outstanding achievement in his or her chosen profession. Moss received a Bachelor of Science degree from UT Martin in 1963 and has since spent 40 years in public education – teaching in classrooms with both Memphis and Shelby
Mike Moss, of Arlington, and Joe Exum, of Martin (center, l to r), received alumni awards Oct. 7 during UT Martin Homecoming. Joining Moss and Exum were Chancellor Keith Carver (left) and Betsy Brasher Melby, of Memphis, a senior vice president with First Tennessee Bank and president of the UT Alumni Association.
County Schools, serving as an admissions officer with the University of Memphis and acting as coordinator of admissions for the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He has served UT Martin and the UT System as a member of both the UT Martin Alumni Board and the University of Tennessee Alumni Association Board of Governors, and as president of the UT Martin Memphis Region Alumni Chapter, UTAA Memphis Region chapter and the University of Tennessee National Alumni Association. Since his retirement, he has volunteered with First Presbyterian Church in Memphis to help the local homeless population obtain official identification paperwork. He has also been involved with the local food kitchen and has taught a six-month program for addiction recovery through Memphis Union Mission. He is currently a member of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce.
Know a future
Skyhawk that’s attending UT Martin in the fall? Make sure they register for SOAR at utm.edu/soar! May 22 • June 8 • June 22 • July 13 • July 23
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noteworthy DEAL RECEIVES 2018 UT PRESIDENT’S AWARD Dr. Charley Deal (‘92,’96), associate vice chancellor for alumni relations and annual giving, received one of four 2018 University of Tennessee President’s Awards from Dr. Joe DiPietro, UT System President, following DiPietro’s “State of UT” address Feb. 28. This series of awards was created in 2016 to honor the role of UT employees in fulfilling the university’s mission and celebrate those whose academic and professional achievements serve as a model for their system colleagues statewide. Nominations for the 2018 awards were accepted in four categories: Educate, which honors accomplishments that enhance educational offerings and diverse learning environments; Discover, which honors discoveries and applications of knowledge; Connect, which honors engagement, service efforts and programs; and Support, which honors efforts in support of educational excellence, discoveries and applications of knowledge, outreach, engagement and service. Deal was honored in the “Support” category and is the fourth UT Martin representative in three years to receive a UT President’s Award. He currently serves as executive director of the WestStar Leadership Program, which is the state’s oldest and largest regional leadership program and boasts 798 graduates to date. Deal is also a primary fundraiser for UT Martin and its associated programs and has helped solicit funds for a number of scholarships, endowments, activities, facilities and programs for the UT Martin main campus and all five of its educational outreach centers. “One example was his work to help make the regional educational center in Fayette County a possibility,” wrote Dr. Robert Smith, UT Martin chancellor emeritus, when recommending Deal for the award. “(The UT Martin Somerville Center) is substantially funded from private contributions solicited by Dr. Deal. His approach was to articulate to donors the possibilities for better education and jobs for youth as well as adults in this economicallydepressed region. He connected the donors with real outcomes for their neighbors, not just a brick-and-mortar facility.” Deal shows a commitment to making higher education more accessible to all groups. He and his family finance an annual group of students from their home in Hickman County to visit UT Martin for a day-long campus experience. “Charley wants these students in higher education because of what it will mean to them, their families and their shared community,” wrote Dr. Jamie Mantooth, executive director of UT Martin enrollment services and student engagement. “He values
10 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
Charley Deal, associate vice chancellor for alumni relations and annual giving.
this so much that he is willing to introduce them to the opportunity using his own money.” Deal also works with the UT Martin Black Alumni Council and with groups of alumni and donors in other areas to make sure students from minority groups have equal opportunities to visit campus and succeed at UT Martin as undergraduate students. “Dr. Deal (either) succeeds at accomplishing his goals and tasks or is still continuing to pursue the challenge and refusing to give up,” wrote Andy Wilson, UT Martin vice chancellor for university advancement. “His accomplishments are many but are tied to improving lives through advancing education. His most significant achievements will be felt by Tennesseans for generations.” Deal holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from UT Martin and a doctoral degree in learning and leadership from UT Chattanooga. He has worked for UT Martin in some capacity for the past 25 years. UT Martin nominees hold the highest number of UT President’s Awards of any UT System campus. University faculty members have been chosen for at least one UT President’s Award each year since the award’s inception. Dr. Julie Hill, professor of music, and David McBeth, professor of art, received two of the three inaugural awards in 2016 in the “educate” and “connect” categories, respectively. Dr. Jason Roberts, associate professor of animal science, received the 2017 award in the “educate” category. utm.edu
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ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTER URGES GRADUATES TO QUESTION, LISTEN AND FIND COMMON GROUND More than 360 graduates participated in UT Martin’s fall commencement ceremony Dec. 16 at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center and listened as Meg Kinnard Hardee, a political and legal affairs reporter with The Associated Press who bylines as Meg Kinnard, presented the commencement address. Hardee is a Georgetown University graduate who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Foreign Service in International Politics/International Security Studies from the Walsh School of Foreign Service. She is in her 12th year with The Associated Press. The ceremony included students who completed degree requirements during both the summer and fall semesters, and more than 530 students were eligible to receive degrees. University Chancellor Keith Carver welcomed the capacity Elam Center audience that included graduating students from 55 Tennessee counties, 15 states and the countries of China, Kenya and Saudi Arabia. He then introduced Hardee, who grew up in Memphis and now lives in South Carolina. She is the only grandchild of the late 8thDistrict Congressman Ed Jones, who attended UT Junior College – predecessor to UT Martin – and continued his education at UT
Meg Kinnard Hardee, UT Martin fall commencement speaker
Knoxville. Among his accomplishments, Jones was appointed the youngest Tennessee commissioner of agriculture under Gov. Gordon Browning and is probably best known for his service as a U.S. representative from 1969-89. A replica of the lawmaker’s office is maintained in the university’s Paul Meek Library, which also houses his legislative papers. Hardee and her husband, Geoffrey, are coauthors of the upcoming biography “Grassroots Politickin’: The Life and Legacy of Ed Jones.” Hardee, whose famous grandfather preceded her as the university’s commencement speaker in 1984, told the audience she originally intended to become a CIA agent until a an internship with The Washington Post changed her career path. “Journalism has taught me so much about people, American politics and our world,” she said. She also gave advice to all journalism majors present: “Question everything, leave your opinion at home, and always, always be objective.” She offered similar guidance to news consumers, adding: “Don’t just consume news that solidifies what you already believe. Instead, take in all views; be true to yourself, but always keep your mind and your heart open. “The only thing worse than actually being wrong is not knowing when you are,” she continued. She closed by telling graduates something they likely did not expect to hear. “This day really isn’t about you,” Hardee said, explaining the day was instead about leaving a legacy and making a positive difference in the world. She reminded them that earning a college degree brings with it great responsibility. “Don’t ever think that you don’t matter or that your impact is too small,” she said. Among her words of advice, Hardee explained the importance of compromise: “Our republic was founded on compromise. Unless we find that spirit again, it will not survive.” “We’ve come to a place where the middle ground is beginning to disappear,” she added. “Take off your blinders, open your eyes and ears, and listen.” Dr. Joe DiPietro, University of Tennessee president since 2011, congratulated the graduates following Hardee’s address, urging them to savor the moment. “You may see this occasion as an exciting end to one remarkable chapter in your life,” he said. “It’s also an open door to your role as a lifelong learner, (and as) an advocate of UT and the value of higher education.” DiPietro later conferred the degrees and was followed by Mitch Pollard (‘93), who congratulated the new graduates on behalf of the UT Martin Alumni Council. Winter/Spring 2018 11
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HAROLD CONNER SR. REMEMBERED AS AN EDUCATOR, TRAILBLAZER, MAN OF FAITH Rev. Harold Conner Sr., UT Martin’s first black administrator, died Oct. 15 at Diversicare of Martin. He was 97. Conner, known by many as “Dean Conner,” first came to UT Martin in 1969 as assistant dean of students and was later named assistant vice chancellor for student affairs. He continued as a university administrator until his retirement in 1981. Conner was instrumental in starting many campus organizations and programs that still play significant roles at the university, including the Black Student Association, the Freshman Studies Program, the Highest Praise Gospel Choir and the Peer Enabling Program that mentors entering students. “Dean Conner was a trailblazer and a role model for generations
12 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
of students from all backgrounds,” said Chancellor Keith Carver. “His UT Martin legacy endures in many lasting forms, but his students and those who worked with him will always know him as an educator, mentor, friend and man of great faith.” Conner is remembered in the commemorative publication “Celebrating 50 Years of African-American Achievement” for his role in the successful integration of Weakley County Schools and UT Martin. Jesse Arnold Pryor, the first African American student to enroll at the university in 1961, credited Conner during the September 2011 dedication of Unity Circle near Clement Hall for encouraging her to attend the Martin campus. Conner was a U.S. Army veteran, a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and an ordained Baptist minister, serving as pastor of the Fuller Street Baptist Church in Dresden for almost five decades. Conner was the first recipient of the UT Martin Black Student Association’s annual Legacy Award honoring his university achievements. The university’s Harold Conner Scholarship is named for him, and the city of Martin annually presents the Harold Conner City of Martin Award to recognize outstanding achievement and innovative leadership in the community. Deborah Williams-Boyd (‘80), a longtime employee in UT Martin’s Office of Business Services, recalls the many ways “Dean Conner” touched her and her family. “While a student at UTM, timid and shy, I was told to do everything I could not to go to his office, because when you went, you were already in trouble,” she wrote in an email. “He expected great things out of me, and I did all I could to make him proud.” Conner baptized her youngest son and loved hearing her daughter play the piano. All of her children received the Harold Conner Scholarship while attending the university. “He was always giving life instructions,” Williams-Boyd added. “I loved hearing him preach, and he never bothered to sugarcoat any of it. He shot straight from the hip and, if it bothered you, you just said ‘ouch’ and kept on pushing.” Dr. Phil Watkins (‘56), UT Martin vice chancellor emeritus of student affairs, first knew Conner when he was a high school principal in Weakley County, and the pair later worked many years together after Conner was hired by the university. Watkins credits Conner’s human-relations skills for his ability to work with people from all backgrounds. “I think a good part of (his success) was his leadership style,” Watkins said. “It was a quiet, dignified and effective way of interacting with people.”
SCENE & HEARD
GRANDIN ENCOURAGES DIFFERENT TYPES OF MINDS Dr. Temple Grandin, internationally-known animal behaviorist and autism advocate, spoke Feb. 13 at UT Martin. Her presentation, titled “Developing Individuals Who Have Different Kinds of Minds,” was sponsored by the Ed and Llew Jones Distinguished Lecture Series. Grandin focused her comments on the value of individuals who see the world differently than those around them, such as those on the autism spectrum and those with other learning difficulties such as dyslexia. “We’ve got to help the minds that are different succeed. We need these minds that are different, and we must not screen them out because the world needs all kinds of minds,” she said. Grandin gave examples from her own life to illustrate the need for creative classes such as woodworking, welding, sewing and theater in schools. She has invented many restraint systems and handling facilities for the livestock industry, and those pursuits began with an early exposure to construction and art. “When I was a little kid, four years old, I had no speech. I had all the full-blown symptoms of autism. Nobody thought I would go anywhere, but my ability in art was always encouraged. Take the thing the kid is good at and build on it; build on the area of strength,” she said. “I’ve seen too many kids (who) are becoming their disability.” Grandin is currently a professor of animal science at Colorado
State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her specialties include the behavior and handling of cattle and pigs; the design of livestock handling facilities and restraint systems; and the study of animal welfare in the meat industry. The Ed and Llew Jones Distinguished Lecture Series was originally created in 1989, and Grandin is the 15th speaker in the series. The program was recently reinstated in part by Meg Kinnard Hardee, the only granddaughter of former Congressman Ed Jones, and her husband, Geoffrey Hardee, in honor of Meg’s grandparents.
CAVALIER BECOMES NEW UT MARTIN PROVOST Dr. Philip Acree Cavalier, most recently provost of Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, will become UT Martin’s new provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs effective July 1. “I am excited to join a community that impressed me, during my campus interviews, as truly energized and moving in a positive direction,” said Cavalier. “I am eager to partner with Chancellor Carver and the faculty, staff and members of the chancellor’s leadership team to advance UT Martin’s commitment to making a profound impact on the lives of all UTM students.” At Lyon, Cavalier was responsible for working with areas such as curriculum and program development; faculty support and shared governance; student support and persistence initiatives; accreditation; and assessment. Cavalier holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in English from Northeastern University in Massachusetts and a doctoral
degree, also in English, from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has served in higher education administration since 2004. “I appreciate Dr. Rich Helgeson (former dean, UT Martin College of Engineering and Natural Sciences) for stepping up to fill the provost position this past year, and I wish him well as he returns to the faculty in the fall. I would also like to thank Dr. Philip Smartt and the rest of the search committee for their tireless efforts to find the best person to lead UT Martin’s academic areas,” said Carver in a campus message. “I am confident Dr. Cavalier is the best person to lead UT Martin’s academic programs, and I look forward to welcoming him and his family to campus this summer.”
Dr. Temple Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University and an internationally-known animal behaviorist and autism advocate.
Winter/Spring 2018 13
SCENE & HEARD
UT Martin students outside the Ned R. McWherter Center for Advanced Industrial Technologies on the campus of Jackson State Community College, the new home for the UT Martin Jackson Center.
UT MARTIN JACKSON CENTER RELOCATES TO JSCC The UT Martin Jackson Center opened new offices on the Jackson State Community College main campus in time for the start of spring semester classes Jan. 11. “This partnership is a win-win for both institutions and a win for our students as well,” said Dr. Allana Hamilton, Jackson State president. “It provides JSCC graduates the flexibility they need to balance education, employment and family. Through this partnership, it is possible for a student to begin and graduate at Jackson State Community College and then enroll at UT Martin to complete a baccalaureate degree without leaving the Jackson State campus.” The most recent data show Jackson State students enjoy a high
PHILLIP TREY LINDSEY CLASSROOM DEDICATED Homecoming is a perfect occasion to renew friendships, recall good times, and honor and remember special people. UT Martin’s 2017 homecoming provided this kind of backdrop for the family and friends of the late Phillip “Trey” Lindsey (‘16) to officially name the Phillip Trey Lindsey Classroom, located in the university’s Brehm Hall, in his honor during a ceremony Oct. 7. Trey was the son of John and Lisa Lindsey, of Jackson, and a 2010 graduate of South Side High School. After studying wildlife biology at UT Martin and earning his degree in May 2016, Lindsey accepted a two-month summer internship position as a research technician for the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit - Southwest Nebraska Pheasant Research Project. While being treated at a local hospital for swelling in his leg, a blood clot sent Trey into cardiac arrest. Medical personnel were unable to revive him. 14 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
rate of success when they transfer to complete a bachelor’s degree at UT Martin. The university’s overall four-year graduation rate for transfer students is 6.1 percent below UT Martin’s institutional average. However, four-year graduation rates for transfer students from Jackson State are 10.9 percent above UT Martin’s institutional average. UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver said this speaks to the benefit of a Jackson State associate degree to baccalaureate completion. “The joint goal is to improve the long-term educational experience for students in West Tennessee,” Carver said. “Working together with Jackson State, we can improve transfer pathways and four-year graduation success of students entering Jackson State and completing their four-year degrees at UT Martin. This partnership will also impact the overall educational level of West Tennessee, leading to better employment and economic opportunities.” The schools joined forces in 2017 to support transfer students financially by establishing a partnership as a result of the university’s Elam Transfer Promise. The agreement provides scholarships that will benefit Tennessee Promise students who pursue a four-year degree at UT Martin. Approximately half of Jackson State students plan to transfer to a four-year college or university. Because the new UT Martin Jackson Center will only offer upper-division classes that do not duplicate any Jackson State class offerings, the agreement emphasizes the importance of JSCC students receiving their associate degree before transferring to UT Martin.
Attending the Oct. 7 dedication of the Phillip Trey Lindsey Classroom at UT Martin were (l-r) Dr. Keith Carver, university chancellor; Andrea Lindsey, wife of Will Lindsey; Will Lindsey, Trey’s brother; Taylor Lindsey, Trey’s sister; Quanah Allen, Trey’s girlfriend; and Lisa and John Lindsey, Trey’s parents.
SCENE & HEARD
Trey served as vice president of the UT Martin Wildlife Society and was dedicated to the expansion and promotion of the organization. The Phillip “Trey” Lindsey Scholarship Endowment was established following his death in July 2016 and will be used to support the academic pursuits of eligible juniors and seniors studying wildlife biology at the university. Now, the Phillip Trey Lindsey Classroom will add to his legacy. Dr. Keith Carver, UT Martin chancellor, opened the dedication event and reminded those attending that colleges and universities are really about people. “We’re here today because of relationships,” he said. “We’re here today because of people, and we’re here today to really talk about what Trey meant to UT Martin and what we think UT Martin meant to Trey.” Among faculty members who knew Trey best was Dr. Eric Pelren, professor of wildlife biology. He recalled when Trey first visited his office and, unlike other students who tend to be shy and introverted, Trey arrived with a smile on his face. “They say we’ve got a lifetime to do all the good we can in the world,” Pelren said. “And I don’t know much, but I know this – in Trey’s couple of dozen years, he did more good in the world than most people do the better part of a century that they’re given. And I know Trey’s legacy is going to live on.” JOHN TANNER RECORDS MADE AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC UT Martin hosted a reception Feb. 23 to honor John Tanner, former U.S. representative for Tennessee’s 8th District, and thank him for the donation of his Congressional papers to the university’s Alliene and Jimmie S. Corbitt Special Collections. Tanner’s documents have been digitized and are now available online for research use around the world. Tanner hopes this record of his work with the U.S. House of Representatives and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will help future generations learn from the past. “I hope this collection of papers and so forth will benefit young people in the future,” said Tanner. “We live in a different time, perhaps, than some of the work that I did through NATO, but if people can look back and see what happened then, it might give them a better perspective of what happens now.” Tanner filled the seat vacated by the late Rep. Ed Jones in 1989 and represented the district until 2010. “It is our mission to conserve, preserve and make available the historical record of this university and West Tennessee,” said Sam Richardson, university archivist and head of the Corbitt Special utmforever.com
(l-r) Retired Rep. John Tanner and his wife, Betty Ann, are pictured with Chancellor Keith Carver prior to a reception Feb. 23 thanking the Tanner family for his donation to the university’s Alliene and Jimmie S. Corbitt Special Collections.
Collections. “We here at the Corbitt Special Collections consider ourselves the caretakers of the 8th District and the 8th District’s historical record. We, today, are making public a large part of that history.” “This collection will bring great interest to researchers who are interested in Tennessee and 8th District politics, as well as national and foreign affairs in the late 20th and early 21st centuries,” Richardson continued, addressing the Tanner family. “We here at UT Martin appreciate your generous donation, and we appreciate that you have trusted us to bring that to the public.” The Tanner documents can be accessed online through the Paul Meek Library website.
Winter/Spring 2018 15
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RIPLEY CENTER CELEBRATES 10 YEARS The UT Martin Ripley Center hosted Fall Fest on Oct. 26, 2017, to celebrate the centerâ€™s 10-year anniversary. The event brought together people of all ages to observe the milestone. UT Martin classes were first offered in 2006 at the Tennessee Technology Center at Ripley before the permanent center opened. Located at 315 South Washington Street, the UT Martin Ripley Center was dedicated Sept. 6, 2007, and included 21,000 square feet of space. An 8,000-square-foot expansion was dedicated Feb. 7, 2013. (top): Pictured during the centerâ€™s Fall Fest celebration are (l-r) Steve Barnett, UT Martin Office of Educational Outreach; Rachel Jackson, Ripley Center advisory board member; Dr. Simpfronia Taylor, Ripley Center director; Nyrita Alston, Ripley Center advisory board member; and Jason Holloway, Ripley Center assistant director. (middle) Jackson hands out candy during the evet. (bottom) Fall Fest drew a crowd of students, employees, families and community members to the UT Martin Ripley Center.
16 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
SCENE & HEARD Pictured at the dedication are (l-r) Tommy Legins (‘90), CFO of Savant Learning Systems; Nassar Nassar, CEO of Savant Learning System In.; Dr. Bob Smith, chancellor emeritus; and Dr. Keith Carver, UT Martin Chancellor.
UT MARTIN GATEWAY COLUMNS CREATE SYMBOLIC ENTRYWAY BETWEEN UNIVERSITY, CITY OF MARTIN UT Martin dedicated its first donor-supported Gateway Columns entryway Nov. 18 at the end of Pat Head Summitt Drive next to Skyhawk Parkway. University and local elected officials, university and city Town & Gown Association members, Skyhawk athletic teams and cheer squad members, and Captain Skyhawk were among those who honored Dr. Nassar Nassar (‘96) and Savant Learning Systems Inc. for supporting the columns. Nassar is president and CEO of the educational services company headquartered in Martin. The Gateway Columns project is part of the university’s campus master plan update, which was completed in 2016 and includes seven designated campus entryways. This project represents the second completed entryway and is the first entryway to be dedicated. Chancellor Keith Carver credited Dr. Bob Smith, chancellor emeritus, with the columns entryway idea and for working with Nassar and Savant to make the gift possible. He then noted the
relationship that exists between the university and the city and county, which are joined together symbolically by the columns. “And what … this entryway does, is it removes a fence, it removes a barrier, and it provides an easy path for students to interact with businesses and with the community, and it makes the campus open and a friendly place for our community to interact with our campus, our faculty and staff,” Carver said. “And it’s seamless, and I think for me it really represents what town-gown truly means, and that’s a campus, a community, a city, businesses, industry working together to make this place a better place.” Carver welcomed Nassar to the podium, who agreed with the significance of the columns for both the university and the community. “I’m very proud to be a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin,” he said. “I’m definitely proud to be the CEO and president of Savant Learning Systems. … I’m also very proud to be a part of the team that is ‘Town and Gown.’ The efforts of those folks and definitely a vision of Bob Smith to create something that brings us together–that’s exactly what we see in those columns.”
Winter/Spring 2018 17
HOOPS SUCCESS CONTINUES Members of the UT Martin women’s basketball team celebrate during the Ohio Valley Conference Basketball Championship game March 3 against Belmont University, in Evansville, Indiana. With an automatic bid into the Postseason Women’s NIT, the Skyhawks’ earned their seventh postseason berth in the past eight years, joining four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 2011-14 and a pair of Women’s NIT berths in 2015 and 2016. The Skyhawks’ recent success is unprecedented after notching just one previous postseason berth in the program’s Division I history (in 1999). For more photos from the 2017-18 women’s basketball season, visit utm.edu/photos.
SCENE & HEARD
noteworthy TOM BRITT AMONG LONGEST–TENURED RADIO BROADCASTERS IN NCAA DIVISION-I RANKS Tom Britt may be working two high-profile jobs, but he shows no signs of slowing down. The highly decorated sportscaster has delivered radio play by play and color analysis for UT Martin basketball and football broadcasts since 1981, making him the second-longest tenured women’s basketball play-by-play announcer currently active at a NCAA Division-I institution. Britt is perhaps more well-known among West Tennessee natives for his journalistic duties at WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News, the ABC and CBS television affiliate located in nearby Jackson. Britt is in his 25th year at WBBJ, where he currently anchors and produces the Midday and Noon shows while anchoring both the 5 and 5:30 p.m. newscasts. All in all, Britt has devoted 47 years to media coverage in West Tennessee. He was inducted into the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame in 2016 and nominated for an Emmy in 2009 for WBBJ’s coverage of the tornado that hit Jackson. Not bad for a multimedia career that almost didn’t come to fruition.
“My start into the journalism field was really accidental,” Britt said. “I had gone through high school planning to go into education and become a basketball coach. I had a friend who had started working part-time at a little radio station in Selmer, Tennessee, so I got to hanging around with him, and he let me cut a couple of commercials and things like that. I had done some theater and choral stuff in high school, and so I got the bug really badly.” It was at that moment Britt decided to abandon his summer factory job and give the journalism business a shot. He enrolled in the now-defunct Tennessee Institute of Broadcasting in Nashville and excelled, graduating in 1970. Britt’s first job was at WDXI-AM 1310, a radio station in Jackson, where he started out working the night shift. “I was making less in radio than I was at the factory,” Britt recalled with a laugh. “I think it was like two dollars an hour. My first job was playing country music from 6 p.m. to midnight on a program we called the ‘Country Club.’” From there, Britt worked for one year as a disc jockey at WTJSAM and FM 104.1, also in Jackson. The allure of broadcasting sports soon brought him back to WDXI-AM 1310 and 103.1 FM.
Tom Britt, right, and Chris Brinkley cover a UT Martin women’s basketball game against the University of North Carolina during the first-round of the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament, March 23, 2014, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
20 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
SCENE & HEARD
In addition to his duties as on-air DJ, music director and program director, he was also introduced to high school sports broadcasting and reporting nearly every Friday and Saturday. Britt transitioned into WDXI’s news director role for seven years, notching numerous Associated Press awards before his two current jobs with WBBJ and the Skyhawk Radio Network intertwined. Launched in 1980, the then-Pacer Radio Network was the brainchild of former UT Martin athletic director Ray Mears. The late Bill Haney, a 2001 inductee into the UT Martin Hall of Fame, coordinated the eight-station radio network and soon recruited Britt to be his broadcast partner. “Bill called me one day and asked if I’d like to come up and do the UT Martin games with him,” Britt said. “I thought about it for about five seconds and told him I’d do it. Bill was just the greatest friend even before I started doing games with him. He loved this university – he lived orange and blue, and I think that is one of the reasons that I enjoy still doing the games. I saw his love for it and I’ve come to love and enjoy it, too.” For some, one of the less glamorous sides of collegiate athletics is the frenetic travel schedule. However, Britt and Haney’s already strong friendship was solidified during several car rides along winding roads as they hustled and bustled to arrive at their next destination. “You really become friends with someone when you travel latenight hours, long hours where you’re talking and getting to know each other,” Britt said. “For years and years there at the beginning, Bill owned a radio station and I worked at one. We would call high school games on Friday night and then drive all night somewhere to try to cover the UT Martin games on Saturday. We were in the Gulf South Conference then, and we might drive to Troy, Alabama, arrive there at 4 a.m. and broadcast an 11 o’clock game. Bill always said it didn’t make any difference how our teams played, we were going to broadcast the game, and we were going to do it well. Then we would feel good about what we did whether our team won or lost.” Thousands of student-athletes, coaches and administrators have passed through UT Martin in Britt’s tenure. He has witnessed multiple Gulf South Conference and Ohio Valley Conference championship squads, as well as dozens of All-Americans and allconference performers. “I think some of the most memorable moments were the first time that the basketball team went to the NCAA Division-II
Tournament (in 1982),” Britt said. “That was exciting. And then of course when football won the conference and went into the second round in 1988. That was something that I thought I would never be able to do or follow. Then of course since we got into Division-I in 1992, and the football and both basketball programs have been really competitive. I’ve been able to broadcast playoff or postseason contests for all three of those sports just in recent years.” Britt’s allegiance to UT Martin and attention to detail on the job is evident. Chris Brinkley (‘00), a member of the Skyhawk Radio Network since 2000, tabs Britt as one of his biggest mentors, not just in the radio business but in the journalism profession as a whole. “If I had to describe Tom Britt in one word, it would be ‘professional,’” Brinkley said. “Whether he is bringing you the news in your living room through weeknight television or vividly broadcasting a Skyhawk sporting event through the radio dial on the weekends, he is the consummate professional. His reputation as the best in the business is well-earned, and that is evident by the fact that he is adored by so many colleagues, viewers and listeners. He is a dear friend who has inspired me in many ways over the past 18 years.” “I’ve tried to always do the best, always be honest and not blow things out of proportion – to tell it like it is,” Britt said. “And always try to be accurate. It’s good to be first, but it’s always better to be accurate than first every time. On television, I enjoy writing, I enjoy presenting and interacting with people, telling good stories and meeting deadlines every day. But sports are the fun side of the business, and it always has been. It’s more of a relaxing type of broadcasting.” Away from the microphone, Britt spends time vegetable gardening, reading and spending time with his two granddaughters. The Beech Bluff native enjoys reflecting on his two journalism careers that may never have been. “I didn’t plan to get into radio; I didn’t really plan to get into television, but I ended up in both of those fields,” Britt said. “Those careers have taken a country boy who grew up at the end of a cotton row on a farm to be able to follow our teams all the way from Alaska to Hawaii to Miami to the East and West Coasts. it’s just been an unbelievable ride for me.”
Winter/Spring 2018 21
SCENE & HEARD
noteworthy WELDON NAMED MISS RODEO USA 2018 Summer Weldon, a Martin native and UT Martin sophomore, was named Miss Rodeo USA 2018, Jan. 21, during the national pageant’s final night of competition in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. She is only the second contestant from Tennessee to win the title since 1976. Weldon is a health and human performance major and participates in barrel racing as a member of the UT Martin rodeo team. Along with her title, she will also receive a $5,000 career advancement and a prize package of rodeo gear. Miss Rodeo USA is the voice of (the International Professional Rodeo Association), and to become that voice has been my dream for many years,” wrote Weldon in her competition biography. Weldon competed in the Miss Rodeo USA pageant as Miss Morgan County Sheriff’s Rodeo 2017. She is a six-time qualifier for the National Junior High and National High School Rodeo finals and has held a rodeo queen title since the age of 11, for a total of 14 titles across five states. “Summer is a bright and articulate individual who will be an outstanding national representative for rodeo, UT Martin and the state of Tennessee,” said Chancellor Keith Carver. “The university’s rodeo team is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, and Summer’s accomplishment is an important highlight for our storied rodeo program.” The Miss Rodeo USA 2018 pageant featured 12 finalists who competed in horsemanship, public speaking, personal interview and fashion. Weldon’s court includes Heather Bundy, Miss Limestone County Sheriff’s Rodeo, first runner-up; Heather Morrison, Miss Leon Rodeo, second runner-up; Sara Weekes, Miss Idaho Girl’s Rodeo Association, third runner-up; and Jolye Durette, Miss Shelby County Cattlemen’s Association, fourth runner-up. Bundy, from Lacey’s Springs, Alabama, is a student at Athens State University in Athens, Alabama, pursuing a degree in business management. Morrison, from Letts, Iowa, graduated from Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with degrees in beef and swine production and agriculture geospatial technology. Weekes, of Meridian, Idaho, earned a degree in health science with emphasis in informatics and information management from Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. Durette, of Alpine, Alabama, is a licensed practical nurse pursuing a degree as a registered nurse at Central Alabama Community College in Alexander City, Alabama.
22 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
Save the date!
Mission Worker returns to earn college degree after 25 years Checking items off life’s bucket list takes time. For Gaye Coleman (‘17), graduating magna cum laude from UT Martin in December followed 25 years with her husband and family as missionaries for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. Her focus on gerontology in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences places her among the first university students to earn a degree within the concentration. Maybe more significant than her academic accomplishments is her wish to continue serving others, this time by helping improve the quality of life for older members of society. Gaye graduated in 1975 from McKenzie High School in Carroll County, and she initialy studied to become an elementary education teacher. She attended Bethel College for two years and then married her high school sweetheart, Dale Coleman. He worked in construction, they had two children, and she became a stay-at-home mother. “Ten years passed, and we decided that God was calling us into foreign missions, and so we spent the next 25 years in West Africa,” she said. However, extensive preparation was necessary before the couple’s first mission assignment. Gaye studied nutrition for a year at UT Martin where her husband had returned to study agriculture and earn his degree in 1987. Both acquired valuable knowledge that would benefit their mission work. The family’s preparation continued with a move to Louisiana where Dale worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and both studied at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. They then spent 15 months in France where their children, Jacob and Rebekah, attended French public schools. The Colemans were engaged in intense language study to further prepare them for their first assignment in French-speaking West Africa. Zaire was their first mission assignment, but a coup occurred the week they were scheduled to arrive in the country, and the family eventually served in rural areas of Togo and Senegal, instead. “We used our French for official purposes, but we also learned four or five tribal languages while we were there,” she said. “We were always in rural settings using community development as a bridge to share the Gospel. I taught women’s health lessons, family studies, Bible studies with the women. … I also home-schooled our children while we were overseas until they were in high school.” Dale filled his role on the mission team by working with
by Bud Grimes photos by Nathan Morgan
the men on agriculture-development projects, starting churches and training pastors. The Colemans experienced and observed many things during their mission work, one of which was how older people were treated. “I just saw how the family unit there took care of their older people and how they respect age,” she said. “It really made an impact on me, and I sort of think we’ve moved away from that in our society here. … I’m a big advocate of intergenerational programs; any time we can bring different ages together, we all benefit. We have a lot to gain and learn from one other.” Love for family and respect for the older generation brought the Colemans back to McKenzie in 2015 to help care for two sets of aging parents. These circumstances, combined with what she had observed in other cultures, led Coleman to enter college in 2016 and study gerontology in pursuit of her degree. “It was just on my bucket list. I never finished that goal, and it was one of the things I wanted to do,” she said of her decision to return to college. Gaye would also become the final member of her family to earn a college degree: Jacob (’05) earned a criminal justice degree, and Rebekah earned a degree in creative writing, journalism and English in 2001 from Union University in Jackson. Gaye described the gerontology concentration as giving students broad exposure to the field. “When you say ‘gerontology,’ people respond, ‘Oh you want to work in a nursing home.’ But there are so many more things you can do with a degree in gerontology than work in a nursing home, because that field applies to so many areas,” she said. Gaye said she found the experience of returning to college more stimulating than challenging. “Every day we just learned something new about how the brain works, how the body ages, and we don’t
Gaye and Dale Coleman outside the Elam Center on Gaye’s graduation day.
just come to a point when we decide we’re aging,” she said. “We started aging the day we were born, and our trajectory of how we age depends on the decisions we make when we’re young. So it’s not just something we’re going to deal with as we get older. We’re dealing with aging every day.” Although younger students sometimes mistook Gaye for a faculty member, she felt accepted in her classes and valued the interactions. “I just enjoyed every day being stimulated by new ideas, by interaction with students and faculty,” she said. “The faculty here at UTM are fabulous. They really are interested personally in each student, and I enjoy just being able to think about a new topic, learn about a new idea and then go to the library and research it.” She recalled one particular class taught by Dr. Keith Dooley, assistant professor of child and family studies and gerontology. The course explored death, dying and bereavement, which allowed class members to work through and discuss related issues before having to face them personally and help others as they face death. With her college degree now in hand, Gaye will decide which bucket-list item to pursue next as she and her husband watch after their parents and he runs the family farm. She said that she and her husband talk often about how thankful they are for the U.S. and for the many blessings they enjoy. “We don’t take anything for granted,” she said. “We know how the other part of the world lives.” On the other hand, the Colemans were taught some life lessons in other countries that have stayed with them, such as the concept of hospitality. “We would go to a village among people who had nothing but yet offered us everything, you know, and made us feel totally welcome and … would have been pleased if we had stayed days and days with them,” she said. “We learned some valuable lessons from living 25 years in a culture that was so very different from ours.” One particular philosophy might even have given her an edge over younger college classmates. “There’s an African proverb that says, ‘You can’t bring anything into your hut that you don’t have a hook to hang it on,’” she said. The proverb had practical application because anything left lying
on the floor could conceal scorpions and snakes, “But, also, you have to have something that makes that relevant to you” said Gaye. “I had so many hooks to hang every piece of wisdom, every piece of information that was shared in class. … I had a life experience that made that relevant to me.” Gaye Coleman is a lifelong learner with a passion for service and a heart for those growing older in a society that values youth. Whatever she does next will make a difference because her hut contains plenty of hooks for those next bucket-list items.
Gaye Coleman graduated from UT Martin on Dec. 16, 2017.
ARCHIVES RIDLEY WILLS’ POSTCARD COLLECTION
Lindell Street, Martin
U.S. Post Office (now C. E. Weldon Public Library), Martin
RIDLEY WILLS II, well-known Nashville historian and former senior vice president of the National Life and Accident Insurance Co., gave UT Martin’s Paul Meek Library more than 1,000 postcards from his personal collection of some 28,000 unduplicated Tennessee cards in September 2013. The gift included all of his Weakley County postcards, which covers cards featuring photos and information from Gleason, Dresden, Greenfield and Martin. The donation also includes all of his Lake County cards, many of which highlight Reelfoot Lake, as well as various other locations throughout West Tennessee. To see more postcards from the collection, visit utm.edu/campusscene. “From the Archives” is a feature highlighting unique and interesting items from the Alliene and Jimmie S. Corbitt Special Collections. For more information or to make a donation, contact UT Martin Special Collections and Archives at 731-881-7094 or email@example.com. UT Junior College Administration Building
McNairy Central High School, Selmer
26 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
Main Street, Martin utm.edu
Varsity Theatre (now The Sideline), Martin
Hall-Moody Institute, Martin
Martin Concert Band
University of Tennessee Martin Branch
Agriculture-Biology-Library (ABL) Building (now Brehm Hall)
Winter/Spring 2018 27
Protecting the public: Don Green closes four decades of service by Erin Chesnut photos by Nathan Morgan
28 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
Don Green (’81) has done a little bit of everything when it comes to law enforcement, but it wasn’t entirely intentional. After approaching the South Fulton Police Department for a job while still a student at UT Martin, he unknowingly started down a career path that would last the next four decades. “I told (the South Fulton department) I wanted a position as a dispatcher, just so I could see what law enforcement might be (like). I wasn’t sure if it was the right career for me. … But the chief there said, ‘I’m really not looking for a dispatcher. We’re shorthanded, and we have high turnover. I’m really looking for a police officer,” said Green. So, at 20 years old, Green was sworn in by a local judge and given his equipment that same day. “(The chief) asked me if I’d ever shot a handgun before, and I hadn’t. So he said, ‘Here’s a box of bullets. Go back out to your farm and shoot all but 18 rounds. You’ve got to keep six rounds to go in the gun and 12 rounds to go in the bullet loops on your belt. Come in at six o’clock (in the evening), and you’ll ride with a sergeant until he gets off at 11. Then you can ride with a nightshift guy until two in the morning. You’ll do that for a while,’” Green recalled. “At that time, you didn’t have to go to any kind of training academy until you had been on the job for two years.” Green spent two and a half years with the South Fulton department before transferring to work in Knoxville around the time of the 1982 World’s Fair. He has since gained experience in almost every available area of law enforcement. “The Knoxville Police Department at one time had a jail, a detention facility, that could hold 125 prisoners. I was the night-shift supervisor there for 10 months. I was an accident reconstructionist. I was on the SWAT team. I was on the hazardous materials team. I helped create (Knoxville’s) first bicycle unit,” he said. “I supervised our public housing policing program. I’ve worked in the criminal investigations division. I’ve worked in vice. The only things I didn’t do in the police department were motorcycles, explosive ordinance detail and K9, but I’ve supervised all those units. I had a very varied career. … It has really helped me with having a broad overview of what law enforcement needs are and what officers have to go through.” Green’s experience with the SWAT team eventually led him to consider positions in leadership, training and management within the local department. “Supervision was not something I was really thinking about at the time, but during my career I’ve worked with some really good
Winter/Spring 2018 29
supervisors and some really poor supervisors. Seeing the poor ones come in and manage people made me think that the only way to change that is to be one. And then once I was one, (I asked myself) how do you develop other people, too?” he said. “So then training became important to me, too – talking about how you maintain ethical behavior, how you build people up, how you build succession in planning. And that led to this career.” Green is now the executive director of the Law Enforcement Innovation Center in Oak Ridge – a branch of the University of Tennessee Institute of Public Service. He has held the position since Dec. 1, 2009, and plans to retire this coming July. After 10 years in the chair, he is the longest-serving director to date and has logged an impressive 40 total years of law enforcement service. Leading the LEIC has been a capstone position for Green, who values continued training and improvement for his fellow officers and the profession as a whole. The center focuses on providing highquality training and the best possible resources for law enforcement units statewide in order to better protect both the public and the officers who put their lives at risk. “We do law enforcement training on a national basis. Unlike the rest of the Institute for Public Service, which is dedicated just to the citizens of Tennessee, we serve both Tennessee law enforcement and national law enforcement,” he said in a 2016 interview. “We provide a variety of training, from our National Forensic Academy that does a 10-week crime scene investigative training, to leadership training at the Southeast Command and Leadership Academy, to specialized training with school resource officers, supervisory training, active shooter response and other law enforcement specialized issues.” The institute has since broadened its scope to provide international resources as well, training both foreign and domestic law enforcement officials to deal with the use of chemical weapons. “We are trying to make law enforcement better,” he said. “In Tennessee, it’s impacting agencies, not only large agencies but small agencies that can’t afford to come to training. … We have money through federal dollars that allows us to do training across Tennessee to help make people better.” The LEIC also houses the annual National Forensics Academy
Collegiate Program, designed and operated in part by UT Martin. The NFACP is a three-week program for college students interested in law enforcement, forensics and crime scene investigation, and it draws a full class from all over the country each summer. “With the onset of crime scene investigative television programs like CSI, NCIS, (and) Law and Order, there’s been a huge interest in crime scene investigative training. We do a specialized training specifically for law enforcement. It’s a 10-week in-residence program. But we also had parents and students ask, ‘How do I get involved in this type of training? How do I make sure that I’m marketable in the crime scene or law enforcement professions?’” said Green. “So, partnering with the University of Tennessee at Martin’s Criminal Justice Program, we developed a three-week overview class that’s a condensed version of the 10-week program but actually prepares criminal justice students for lifetime careers in law enforcement.” Green has seen many facets of the law enforcement profession and received a variety of responses toward his work over the years. “We went through a really high point after 9/11 where everybody loved law enforcement and everybody was running into buildings and looking for terrorists. After the Boston bombing, we got high marks there. But, after several questionable police shootings, there is now a level of mistrust and fear. … That’s why a lot of people aren’t wanting to go into the job. It’s dangerous,” he said. Green related his experiences working with the public housing program in Knoxville to illustrate how effective a welltrained police unit can be in those areas. “Working with public housing, there’s a lot of good people who, because of misfortune or circumstances, just don’t have the advantages other people have had. It doesn’t mean they’re not hard-working; it doesn’t mean they’re not compassionate; it doesn’t mean they don’t care about family. In many cases they are victimized by people,” he said. “So it was a big deal for me to go in and make a difference there. We reduced crime in public housing over 33 percent the first two years we worked there… We involved the community in addressing those problems...where we can’t have a police officer on every corner.”
His time with the SWAT team also shows the difference between Hollywood-created situations and the reality of life on the job. “A lot of people think of SWAT units based on movies where they just go out and shoot everybody … and really SWAT is designed to save lives, both of the victims that may be involved but also of the perpetrator. You’re trying to take some sort of action that doesn’t allow them to be killed,” he said. “Our cases were almost always hostage or barricaded situations. … We had some active shooter situations, and we responded to several cases outside the county for smaller agencies that didn’t have SWAT teams. … You’re not utilized a lot, but when they need you, it’s nice to have people who can do that.” “There are a lot of challenges (in law enforcement), but I think it still has a lot of potential for people,” he said. “I think people will eventually come back to the idea that it’s the one thing that can keep us safe in our communities. … And most of the communities do support us. … The first people that complain about us will be the first people who call us.” Green looks back on his time at UT Martin as a starting point for where his career has ultimately taken him. “I worked with good people there. … I had good supervisors there. I saw teachers and faculty who really cared about their students,” he said. “I had personal relationships with my instructors there, which helped me as I went into supervision, because that’s the kind of relationship you want with your staff. … It helped prepare me for a leadership role. Even though they had a position of authority, everybody that I had cared about me. And I was not the best student. … They could have easily said, ‘His grades aren’t the best in the world. He’s probably not going to amount to anything. Why am I wasting my time?’ but nobody ever felt that way. It was just a great experience.” Green left UT Martin in 1979 just three credit hours short of his bachelor’s degree in psychology. After finishing those hours at UT Knoxville, he ultimately received his diploma in 1981 and later earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from UT Chattanooga as well. “(My career) has been a progression. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve ever done. I’ve learned every time I’ve been in a new assignment or a new role, and I hope I’ve left it better behind me,” he said. As Green approaches his ultimate retirement date and looks forward to a slower pace of life, police departments across the country can be sure his work with the LEIC and beyond has helped prepare law enforcement officers for whatever may lie ahead. Don Green’s first patrolman’s badge hangs on the wall in his LEIC office. *Percentages rounded to next whole number.
Camp Pendleton Marine becomes
fIrst female offIcer
to lead assault amphibian vehicle platoon By ERIKA I. RITCHIE, Orange County Register Photos by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register
econd Lt. Mariah Klenke (’15) has done most everything with total commitment. So it was no surprise to her parents, Darrell and Tina Klenke, that the 24-year-old from Breese, Illinois, made history Oct. 3, becoming the first female Marine to graduate from the Marine Corps Assault Amphibian Officer Course and earn the military occupational specialty of assault amphibian officer. Six other Marines graduated with Klenke in a ceremony held at the YAT-YAS Museum, which houses old assault vehicles and memorabilia from the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion at Camp Pendleton. Klenke’s first duty station will be with the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion with the 1st Marine Division. Several other officers will begin their duties at the 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion with the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. “We cannot overlook the historic nature of this day,” Col. Dan Yaroslaski, commander of the Assault Amphibian School, told the graduates, family, friends, commanders and instructors gathered for the ceremony. “The Marine Corps has been through the process of integration. We can stop talking about integration. This is who we are. We have set the standards every Marine has to pass. There has been no distinction between male and female.” Klenke was the first woman to enter the course after the Pentagon lifted its ban on women in combat roles in 2015. She already was a high achiever in school — graduating from the University of Tennessee at Martin with a degree in accounting — when she told her parents that she planned to join the Marine Corps. Tina Klenke recalled the moment her daughter made the announcement. “We went for a car ride and she looks at me and says, ‘What would you say if I said I’m joining the Marine Corps?’” Tina Klenke recalled. “I told her, ‘Go for it.’” Mom also told her daughter: “Do the best you can. There are so many opportunities for women.” “She’s always been one to go above and beyond,” her father added. For the last year, the former collegiate soccer player has held her own with her male counterparts. Klenke has been held to the same requirements as male Marines — first in Officer Candidates School, then in The Basic School and most recently in the Assault Amphibian Vehicle Officer Course. The latter, a 12-week program, started in July at Camp
Mariah Klenke takes part in a graduation ceremony Oct. 3, 2017, in Oceanside, California, making her the first female officer in Marine Corps history to graduate from the assault amphibian school at Camp Pendleton. Klenke will lead a platoon and supervise Marines serving in the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion.
Pendleton, preparing Klenke and six other Marine officers to serve as Assault Amphibian Vehicle platoon commanders. Klenke graduated with the third highest scores in her class. “I’m excited to finally get done with the course and onto the fleet,” she said Tuesday, smiling broadly after the graduation ceremony The most difficult part of the 12-week course, she said, was a one-week training of amphibious operations at the Beach at Camp Pendleton. There, she and her classmates practiced ship-to-shore movement and inland operation, doing four missions a day. “We operated on two hours of sleep,” she said. Throughout her training, Klenke said, she was never treated differently from her male counterparts. “I wanted to do the best I could do,” she said. “It was me putting pressure on myself.” Klenke, the youngest of four children, said her oldest brother, who joined the U.S. Army, was an inspiration to her. She had considered joining the military out of high school but decided to wait after getting a scholarship to play soccer at the University of Tennessee at Martin. “A couple of months before graduation, I thought about joining the military again,” she said. “I chose the Marine Corps because it’s the best branch out there and I like being challenged.” For classmate 2nd Lt. Daniel Humphries, 24, of Tucson, Arizona, who ranked No. 1 in the officer class, Klenke’s presence in the Assault Amphibian Officer Course wasn’t a distraction. “She was good and the instructor did a good job keeping us all the same,” he said. What impressed him most about Klenke, he said, was her ability to adapt to the very male-dominated environment of the assault amphibious vehicles. “We’re all training the same standards,” he said. “There is no difference in the fight.” During the ceremony, Col. Joe Russell, chief of staff for the 1 MEF, reminded the graduates that school is over and the time to lead is upon them. “You will deploy,” he said. “Wherever the Marine Corps goes, you’re one of the first waves. Get ready to come in to an era of change we haven’t seen in a long time. It takes dedication to be a Marine, it’s 24/7, 365 days a year. The nation counts on us to be most ready when there is chaos.” Russell pointed out global threats that are different than what Marines dealt with in Iraq and Afghanistan. “We’ve got a couple of countries that have peer capabilities,” he said. “They hear us, see us and have vehicles with the same capabilities. The only difference between us and them — we have
a distinct edge. We have the nation’s finest fighting systems.” Klenke was assigned to a platoon shortly after graduation and was looking forward to getting to know them personally. “I want to know what they like to do and what they’re like,” she said. “The Marine Corps is our job but it’s also our life. I want to make their job fun so they put their heart and soul into it.”
Surrounded by male Marines, Mariah Klenke is all smiles as she becomes the first female officer in the Marine Corps to graduate from the assault amphibian school.
(opposite page) Klenke looks at her certificate after graduating from a 12-week training class to become an Assault Amphibious Vehicle platoon commander at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California.
A tradition of greatness:
TM U f o s
deo o R rtin
by Ryne Rickman photos by Raffe Lazarian
â€œWe did an economic impact study a few years back, and the rodeo brings in about $130,000 a day just to this community. There are a lot of variables there, and I just pray that everything will come out like it is supposed to and we do a good job.â€?
John Luthi 1997-current Current UT Martin Head Coach; 2013 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Coach of the Year; UTM Rodeo Hall of Fame Class of 2015
here’s an invasion on the UT Martin campus every April. There’s crawfish and barbeque. There’s the pageantry of the emotional opening ceremony. There are late nights reminiscing with friends. There’s a sellout crowd roaring in excitement, hanging on each and every thrill of the cowboys and cowgirls. Each spring, thousands of people don their finest Western hats, belt buckles and boots and flock to the Ned McWherter Agricultural Complex to be entertained. The annual UT Martin Spring College Rodeo delivers above and beyond each and every year, and has claimed Ozark Region Rodeo of the Year 12 times in a row. The rodeo program’s tradition-rich history dates back to 1968. As the 50th annual Spring College Rodeo approaches, the history of the event is as important as ever, especially since the UT Martin program remains the only collegiate rodeo program in Tennessee. In the fall of 1968, a half-dozen ambitious cowboys met with Dr. Niels W. “Doc” Robinson, a faculty member in UT Martin’s School of Agriculture, about sponsoring a rodeo team at UT Martin. Equipped with a love of horses, a basic knowledge of the sport and $600 from the auction of a Shetland pony, the UT Martin rodeo team hosted its first-ever rodeo on Memorial Day weekend in 1969. UT Martin defeated Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee Technological University and Austin Peay State University for the inaugural championship, held at J.E. Cantwell’s Golden Sunset Horse Ranch in nearby Greenfield. The next year, the UT Martin rodeo was moved to the Obion County Fairgrounds in Union City. UT Martin cowboys, faculty members and student volunteers helped build the corral on location from donated materials. UT Martin joined the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association in 1973 and also linked up with the Ozark Region, which included 13 schools from eight Southern states. In 1974, UT Martin advanced to the NIRA National Finals, held in Bozeman, Montana, for the first time. That marked the first appearance by a team based east of the Mississippi River in the history of the event. UT Martin’s success spread quickly, and Skip Emmett became the school’s first national champion when he garnered top honors in all-around cowboy and bareback riding in 1975. One year later, UT Martin claimed the Ozark Region team championship for the first time. In 1977, UT Martin’s annual rodeo moved to Bo Dodd’s farm just north of Martin. Tony Coleman (‘76,’82) became the school’s second national champion when he notched the all-around title later that year at the NIRA National Finals. 38 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
Coleman became the program’s first part-time coach in 1978, just in time for the UT Martin rodeo to be moved to an outdoor arena on the north end of campus one year later. The newly formed Rodeo Booster Club helped turn the UT Martin rodeo into a multi-day spectacle in 1980, showcasing several events in the week leading up to the rodeo. George Mesimer (‘84) joined elite company in 1981, bringing home all-around national championship accolades for UT Martin. The 1984 UT Martin rodeo was the inaugural event for the dedication of the West Tennessee Agricultural Pavilion – the first building of its type to be constructed and operated as such in the University of Tennessee System. Mike Merchant (‘86) captured the national championship in saddle bronc riding in 1985, while Cody Matthews (‘87) utm.edu
followed with a national steer wrestling championship in 1987. Coleman was named UT Martin’s first full-time rodeo coach in 1991 and successfully served in that role until 1997. The duo of Frank Graves (header) and Bret Gould (heeler) earned the title of national champions in team roping in 1993. The UT Martin rodeo lost one of its most important members in January 1994 when Robinson passed away. The West Tennessee Agricultural Pavilion was named in his honor, and he was the inaugural member of the UT Martin Rodeo Hall of Fame. In 1995, a special dedication ceremony took place to rename the campus facility the Ned McWherter Agricultural Complex. After Mesimer filled in as head coach in the mid-summer of 1996, a national search for a permanent replacement was launched. More than 50 applicants vied for one of the most prestigious jobs utmforever.com
in the sport before John Luthi, formerly head coach at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas, was selected. Luthi’s clear vision has helped UT Martin cement its status as one of the best collegiate programs in the nation. He has overseen 14 Ozark Region championships in his two decades at the helm. In 2010, Jeff Askey (‘10) won the national bull riding championship at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyoming. Three years later, Luthi was honored as the NIRA National Coach of the Year. His tireless efforts would be fully rewarded in 2014 when the UT Martin men’s squad became the first team east of the Mississippi River to win the national team championship, accumulating 755 team points to edge out Tarleton State by 25 points. Winter/Spring 2018 39
“It just brings really the community together. You can just feel the difference in the air. It means the world to me. It’s such a tradition and has been a big part of my life. I’ve met friends here that have turned into family.”
Nealey Dalton 2012-17 Four-time College National Finals Rodeo Participant
“UT Martin rodeo is known nationwide and internationally. It’s known in Canada. It’s known in Mexico. It’s known overseas. It’s worth 10 times what you pay for admission because the entertainment value is so great.”
David Vowell 1968-75 UTM Rodeo Hall of Fame Class of 1999
1969 Rodeo became a collegiate sport at UT Martin
First UT Martin Rodeo Invitational Championship
Cody Matthews won national steer wrestling championship
1974 Joined NIRA and Ozark Region
First trip to NIRA National finals
Tony Coleman became the first full-time rodeo coach
1991 42 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
Dr. N.W. â€œDocâ€?Robinson was the first inductee in the Rodeo Hall of Fame
Pavilion named Ned McWherter Agricultural Complex
1976 Skip Emmett becomes UT Martin’s first national champion
The rodeo team won the Ozark Region for the first time
John Luthi became head coach
1977 Rodeo held in Martin for the first time
Dedication of the West Tennessee Agricultural Pavilion
Women’s team won the Ozark Region team title; Jeff Askey national champion bullrider
National Champion Men’s Team
Rodeo celebrates 50 years
2017 Winter/Spring 2018 43
â€œThe thing I look forward to the most each year is seeing some of the old contestants that I used to compete with and ride with. A big life lesson that rodeo has taught me is to take it one day at a time and to be thankful for every day that you have.â€?
George Mesimer 1976-81 1981 All-Around National Champion; Former UT Martin Head Coach; UTM Rodeo Hall of Fame Class of 1996
â€œWhat makes it so special is the effort that is put in it. A lot of people have worked awful hard on it for a lot of years. Being a part of the program is probably the best accomplishment in my life.â€?
Tony Coleman 1970-71, 1973-96 First UT Martin Head Coach; 1977 All-Around National Champion; UTM Rodeo Hall of Fame Class of 1996
Committed to serving children MudPies CEO has a calling to work with kids
By Laurie D. Willis, Black Business Ink.
orking in the financial industry provided Dr. Tony L. Burton III (’89) foundational information about finances and networking, but it wasn’t rewarding. So, more than 20 years ago, he stepped away from that profession to do what many believe is his life’s calling: working with at-risk youth to help them succeed. “During that time, I realized one of the common denominators for the success of at-risk youth and their families is education,” Burton says. “My doctoral dissertation aimed to discover the relationship between early childhood education and linkage to school success. My finding was that early childhood education is a good predictor of school success. Young children with adequate early childhood exposure have better chances of succeeding in school and in life.” Burton should know. He’s the chief executive of the Northwest Child Development Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which was founded in 1970. The non-profit operates four licensed child development facilities in Forsyth, Davie and Stokes counties–all under the name “MudPies.” The latest center, MudPies Coliseum, opened last fall on Pittsburg Avenue in Winston-Salem, a stone’s throw from the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Burton says MudPies is the only non-religious, non-profit childcare center in the community that provides a high-quality learning environment for children, as well as options for lowincome families unable to afford premium routes for child-care needs. He says nearly half of MudPies’ students receive subsidized child-care, and the centers provide “an environment where entrylevel educators can receive unmatched job training that effectively prepares them for lifelong careers in education.”
The MudPies Downtown East location on Pittsburg Ave. in WinstonSalem, North Carolina.
46 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
‘EVERY CHILD CAN SUCCEED’ Burton is well known throughout the Twin City and has hinted at having political aspirations. But right now, he admits, his focus is where it has been for years– on the children. He has always had a knack for interacting with children, according to his older brother, Ron Burton, a football coach at Michigan State University. “Tony really believes that every child can succeed,” he says. “That success starts with a strong foundation that focuses on utm.edu
a holistic approach to develop mind, body and spirit. He really believes that for children living in Winston-Salem and surrounding areas. Growing up in New Bridge Baptist Church, we were always in Sunday school. Our mom always took us to church, which was a big part of our maturation. Tony became secretary of Sunday school for the youth. He was always a leader in bringing people together, and that’s where it all started.” The will to serve others comes naturally to him, Ron adds. “Tony has always been very interested in and committed to young people and their education,” he says. “He has the ability to see short-range and long-term goals and has the ability to bring people together that can help him achieve his goals. He really cares about improving the lives of children, and he believes in the power of people helping people.” Burton, 50, grew up in Highland Springs, Virginia, five miles east of Richmond, but has lived in Winston-Salem most of his adult life. He credits his mother, the late Mary L. Burton, with teaching him to embrace helping others. He says she, Ron and retired school Principal Benjamin Henderson are his role models. “I do my best to live a life that will have a positive impact on the lives of others,” he says. “When I started working with youth I was volunteering, tutoring three young men at my kitchen table. That volunteerism grew into a million-dollar program in three counties with five different components. As I continue to work with children, I do my best to make decisions that will have a lasting impression on those I serve.” ‘WILLINGNESS TO SERVE’ Rev. Nathan E. Scovens, pastor of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, met Burton 10 years ago when Burton owned Omega Limo Service. “The church gave me a scavenger hunt around the city as part of our anniversary celebration, and he was the one taking my family and me around,” Scovens says. “At the time, I was not his pastor, but our relationship grew out of that experience.” During that initial encounter, Scovens says he sensed Burton was a good, community-oriented young man who was very passionate about life and willing to serve. “My impressions of him have grown,” Scovens says. “I have a greater respect for his commitment to working with families, children and the underprivileged and for his willingness to serve. He’s very driven. I think he’s been so successful because he’s chosen to put God first and also because he loves what he does.” Mercedes L. Miller, of Winston-Salem, a professional speaker and executive consultant, has known Burton for more than two decades. Dr. Tony L. Burton III (right), chief executive officer of Northwest Child Development Centers Inc. Photo by FAME Photography NC.
“Dr. Burton is consistent,” she says. “If there’s anything I’ve known about him over the past twenty-four years, it’s that he has a powerful commitment to children and a devout presence in publicservice organizations. Service and volunteerism have been and are the cornerstone of his existence.” Through the years, Burton has had to help himself as well. In 1989 he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UT Martin. After spending three years at Winston-Salem State University, where he studied middle-grades education and earned a North Carolina teaching license in math, he attained a master’s degree in education administration from Columbus University in Mississippi. His Ph.D. in education administration is also from Columbus University. Besides earning degrees, Burton helped himself by going from more than 650 pounds to a healthy 240 pounds. “I encountered many personal, professional and physical obstacles, but in the process I had to transform my inner man in order to see the outward results that I desired,” he says. Burton and Miller are working on a book about his journey to success, which includes his 400-pound weight loss. He believes the book will help others achieve. “Much of my success is twofold,” he says. “I have a burning desire to achieve and excel, and I have a support system of people who encourage me when I’m on top of the world and when I’m climbing out of the valley. I had a mother who always allowed me to chase after my dreams and do things other children my age didn’t even consider. She also allowed me the opportunity to be exactly who I was with unconditional love and support. “As I moved into adulthood, I was fortunate to attract people into my life who provided the same type of support,” he continues. “Now, I must say part of that also has to do with the fact that I do the same for others.… I just believe that as long as I’m using my gifts and talents to help others, the same support and assistance will be provided for me to be successful. It has proven true for me for decades.” FUTURE IN POLITICS? Burton’s support system includes his wife, Brittani M. WilliamsBurton, and his children, DeQuincy, Darren, Ariyanna, Lewis IV and Levi. Burton, who says he works an average of 50 hours a week, says listening to music and cooking are his hobbies. Yet he enjoys nothing more than spending time with friends and family, including older brother Ron and younger brother Darryl, who lives in Richmond. Burton’s sister, Cheryl, and his parents are deceased. Ron Burton and Scovens say they know Burton has political 48 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
Burton with his wife, Brittani M. Williams-Burton, and children Lewis IV and Levi. Photo by FAME Photography NC.
aspirations and wouldn’t be surprised if he one day gets elected. “Everyone is not fit for public service, and I think before you can hold public office you have to be a public servant, and he’s done that,” Scovens says. Ron Burton says he wouldn’t put it past his brother to make a gubernatorial bid someday. And just what does Tony Burton say about entering the world of politics? After all, he was among a very short list of candidates from which the Forsyth County Democratic Party selected a replacement for Forsyth County Commissioner Walter Marshall, who unexpectedly died in office earlier this year. “I strongly believe in service above self and have demonstrated that by the choices I’ve made and the work I’ve done,” he says. “As far as politics, if I’m ever elected to office my goals would be reducing poverty, bringing good-paying jobs to the area, growing our tax base, energizing our county and continuing my commitment to education.” Those goals, not surprisingly, would significantly improve the quality of life for underserved segments of the community – just as Burton seems committed to doing. utm.edu
, Sky s the limit at UT Martin
UT Martin is among the safest four-year public college campuses in Tennessee. UT Martin’s graduation rate is among the highest in Tennessee for state universities. Institutional Research & Evaluation Inc. has listed UT Martin among America’s 100 Best College Buys for 12 consecutive years. The Washington Monthly 2017 College Rankings ranked the University of Tennessee at Martin eighth in the “Best Bang for the Buck Southern Colleges” category. U.S. News & World Report ranks the UT Martin online MBA 30th on its list of the “2018 best online MBA programs,” BestValueSchools.com names the UT Martin criminal justice degree 32nd among the “50 best value colleges for a criminal justice degree.” CollegeConsensus.com also ranks UT Martin fifth among the best colleges in Tennessee for 2017-18
Alumni NEWS SPOTLIGHT ON ALUMS 51 IN MEMORY 57 CLASS NOTES 58
the real deal SEE MORE ONLINE One of the exciting parts of my job is traveling across the state and meeting alumni, friends and future alumni. Recently, Chancellor Carver and I traveled to my hometown in Hickman County and
For the most up-to-date information, news and event schedules, check out the alumni website at utmforever.com.
visited with students considering attending UT Martin. While I was speaking to the group in the high school library, it suddenly hit me that I was sitting in the same room 30 years ago wondering where life after graduation would lead me. In August 1988, I arrived on campus to begin the next chapter in my life. Wow, 30 years goes by fast, especially when you are having fun. When was your first day on the UT Martin campus? Can you name one thing that helped you succeed in college? Do you follow UT Martin on social media, sharing news and events with your friends? More importantly, do you know what is going on with your alma mater? Like any great organization, we must plan during times of uncertainty. Higher education in Tennessee continues to go through a transformation, providing more opportunities to many students in our state. Your university is undertaking a comprehensive strategic planning process, and our campus leadership and stakeholders are developing a blueprint for the future. I encourage you to review the strategic plan being developed and see where your talents may help us achieve our mission. Visit utm.edu/strategic/ to stay up-to-date on our progress. I hope to see you along the journey around our state, but know that the front door of the Dunagan Alumni Center is always open for you. Always #BeUTMProud!
Dr. Charley Deal (â€˜92, â€˜96)
50 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
spotlight on alums
GET INVOLVED! As a UT Martin alum, your continued engagement and involvement are critical to our success. Your personal commitment of time, talent and treasure will ensure our future growth. Visit our website to discover meaningful ways you can impact your university.
Volunteer Opportunities Reunions Alumni Council Development Council Mentoring Program Young Alumni Council Speak Out for UT Alumni in the Classroom
U TMFO RE VE R.COM In addition to visiting the website, feel free to write, call or email the UT Martin Office of Alumni Relations for more information.
Office of Alumni Relations Dunagan Alumni Center 1900 Alumni Way Martin, TN 38238 (731) 881-7610 firstname.lastname@example.org
The UT Alumni Association’s Board of Governors Engagement Committee selected David Bryan (’80) as the 2016 Network Volunteer of the Year. “David has been a member of the Chattanooga Region UT Alumni Network board since 2013 and has consistently shown his dedication to his alma mater and the UT System. Always willing to help with an event, he has been a role model for new board members and a reliable leader for the board,” said Jackie Wise Parreco, UTAA senior director for programs and marketing. He earned a bachelor of science degree in biology from UT Martin and works as a financial advisor with Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. in Chattanooga. Aside from his work on the Chattanooga Network board, David has been a member of the UT Martin Alumni Council (1992), UT Martin Development Council (2000-03), UT Alumni Association Board of Governors (2009; 2014-17) and UT Martin Skyhawk Club Board of Directors (2013).
Winter/Spring 2018 51
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Dr. Andre Temple (’96, ’00) received a 2017-18 Trailblazer Award from the University of Tennessee, one of four presented during the current academic year. The award highlights significant accomplishments and the associated journey of the university’s African American alumni and/or individuals currently or previously associated with UT.
Jason Kemp (02), agriculture teacher at Dresden High School, is the 2017-18 president-elect of the National Association of Agricultural Educators. NAAE is the professional organization in the United
Temple is a native of Memphis and, in addition to his UT Martin degrees, holds a doctorate in education from the University of Memphis and is a 2009 WestStar Leadership Program graduate. He is an industrial solutions consultant with the UT Institute of Public Service in Jackson. In addition to this honor, he was recognized with both the UTIPS Pinnacle Award and Vice Presidential Citation Recognition Award for his collaborative work with the Tennessee Basic Economic Development Program for economic developers and The Industrial Leadership and Supervisory Program for manufacturers. Temple has also served as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Phoenix and Union University for the past decade and is active in volunteer community work. He, his wife, Andreea (‘95), and their daughter, Paige, live in Jackson.
States for agricultural educators and serves more than 8,000 members. Kemp is currently in his 15th year of teaching at one of the last high school production farms in the state of Tennessee. His program produces cattle, swine, row crop and hay. As an agriculture teacher, Kemp has helped to mentor over 60 agricultural education majors and 12 student teachers from UT Martin. He also serves as a mentor for newly-hired agriculture teachers in Weakley County. “I believe our organization is one of the strongest in the education sector, and that we provide the best professional development for our members,” said Kemp. “When we combine our strengths together, then our adversities can be taken
52 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
Holly Kellar (’93), director of fiscal services for the Jackson-Madison County School System, has earned the prestigious Certified Administrator of School Finance and Operations. The SFO certification shows a knowledge, expertise and fiscal credibility to effectively manage a school district’s finances. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in accounting and joined JMCSS in 2001 and has served in multiple roles within the system’s business department. “Holly’s commitment in earning this certification shows her dedication to our school district and to being a trustworthy steward of taxpayer dollars,” said Dr. Eric Jones, JMCSS superintendent. “She is an invaluable coworker who is devoted to doing what is best for our children and staff.” She and her family make their home in Jackson. in stride.” As president-elect, Kemp will assist the current president in setting the tone and direction for agricultural education initiatives in the upcoming year. utm.edu
Ashleigh Burton (‘16), entertains area residents each morning as “Gracie Hopper,” a weekday radio personality on Froggy 103.7’s Morning Splash program, broadcast from Murray, Kentucky. Burton, originally from South Fulton, visited the UT Martin main campus Jan. 25 to speak to a class of broadcast students. However, as she answered various student questions, she had no idea her long-time boyfriend, Blake Stevens (‘15), was preparing to make a different sort of request. Stevens, originally from Brighton, is an evening news reporter for WPSD Local 6 in Paducah, a position he accepted after graduating from UT Martin. He and Burton were classmates in the UT Martin communications program and coworkers on the WUTM 90.3 FM staff. In fact, they first met in the UT Martin Communications Building. In that same classroom, four years later, Stevens interrupted Burton’s presentation, took a knee and asked her to be his wife – a question she happily answered, “Yes!” Stevens and Burton are a true marriage of television and radio. Both received their UT Martin degrees and walked straight into onair positions in their chosen career fields. utmforever.com
“I was blessed and lucky to be able to walk right into a morning show, which is what I wanted to do,” she told broadcast students Jan. 25. “When I started working at Froggy, I was straight out of college working with a lot of people who were older than me who have been in (the field) longer than me. So I had to humble myself and say, ‘You know what, if you want me to work this appearance with no pay, I’m there. If you want me to work 400 Saturdays in a row, I’m there.’” However, as Stevens points out, their individual successes create challenges in their personal relationship. “In radio, your dream spot is the mornings, drive time. In TV news, in most markets, the reporter’s goal is to be on the evening news. So, by default, if she does well, she’s early, and if I do well, I’m afternoons. And that’s what we have,” he said. “So we don’t see each other Monday through Friday. She comes home after I’ve already left for work.” Burton, who was recently promoted to assistant program director at Froggy 103.7, begins her day at 5 a.m. and is on the Morning Splash from 6-10 a.m. and hosts the station’s Taco John’s AllRequest Lunch program from noon-2 p.m. as well. Stevens begins his workday at 1:30 p.m. and could be on camera until 10:30, depending on when his stories are scheduled to air. “It really makes us consider what’s worth our energy, I think,” said Burton. “It’s really important to us that we spend the one-onone time, too. We don’t want to be constantly going and going and forget about each other.” As for professional rivalry, the couple says their jobs may be in the same industry but are different enough to keep them on separate playing fields. “I make jokes all morning, and he’s very serious recording the news. So they are two totally different beasts,” said Burton. The future is wide open as both Burton and Stevens climb the proverbial ladders in their respective platforms. Yet one thing is for sure: wherever they go, and whatever they do, they’ll do together.
Winter/Spring 2018 53
spotlight on alums
Drs. David Coffey (left) and Julie Hill (’94) (second from right) are pictured with Ed Sargent (‘82) and recording artist Joan Jett in October at a fundraiser held in Gotham Hall, located in New York City, for the National Parks Conservation Association. Coffey and Hill were guests of Sargent, tour manager for Jett and other well-known artists. Sargent often returns to visit the university and was featured in the 2009 summer/fall edition of Campus Scene, which can be read online at utm.edu. Coffey is chair for the university’s Department of History and Philosophy, and Hill is the university’s director of percussion studies and Department of Music chair.
Scott Dahlstrom (’88, ’99) is the new executive director of the Columbia Power and Water System in Columbia, effective Feb. 1. Prior to accepting this position, he served as general manager of Trenton Light and Water in Gibson County since 2013. He also has nearly 20 years of experience with the Jackson Energy Authority. Dahlstrom is originally from Dyer and holds both a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in business administration from UT Martin. He is a current member of the advisory board for the UT Martin Jackson Center and is a 2000 graduate of Leadership Jackson. (courtesy CPWS press release)
54 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
Natalie King (’17), former WUTM program director, interviewed Paul Tinkle (’76) during College Radio Day on Oct. 6 during a live broadcast in front of the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in the Boling University Center. Tinkle, president and general manager of Thunderbolt Broadcasting, was one of several area notables who visited the live broadcast and participated in the celebration. College Radio Day’s goal is to raise the profile of college radio stations across the country and encourage increased student participation in the medium of college radio. WUTM has won numerous awards since 2005 from state, regional, national and international competitions. The station currently holds the title of “Best College Radio Station in the South” as designated by the Southeast Journalism Conference, a distinction the station has earned for five consecutive years. The station is also a eight-time Platinum-rated station, as designated by the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System. Also in October, Tinkle and Thunderbolt Broadcasting hosted a special observance at the company’s studios on North Lindell Street in Martin marking WCMT’s 60th anniversary.
Jim Retzke (’85, left) organized the Fallen Solders March Ninth Annual Veterans Day 32-Mile Honor March, which took place Nov. 11 in downtown Nashville and concluded at the Wilson County Veterans Memorial Plaza in Lebanon. At the end of the March, Retzke recognized Daniel Nance (right), a Marine and retired aircraft rescue firefighter veteran, and presented him with a service dog to help him and his family cope with the “consequences of war.” To learn more, visit fallensoldersmarch.com or contact Retzke at email@example.com
Winter/Spring 2018 55
spotlight on alums
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced in October that Katie Ashley (‘08) will serve as director of legislation, the governor’s chief adviser and strategist for legislative matters. The Crockett County native is one of the longest-serving Haslam staffers, starting out on his campaign in 2009 before becoming a legislative liaison in 2011 and handling one of the governor’s top priorities: education in Tennessee. “Katie knows this administration and
the legislative process inside and out, and I am incredibly excited that she will take on this expanded role,” Haslam said. “She has been an integral piece to so much of what we’ve done around education in Tennessee, and her experience will serve the state well as we continue our efforts around jobs, education and efficient and effective government.” Ashley has served as deputy director of legislation since 2015, helping develop and implement the administration’s overall legislative priorities and strategy while managing the administration’s legislative liaison team across 23 departments. She has also been instrumental in the governor’s Drive to 55 initiative and with the passage of the Tennessee Promise and FOCUS Acts. Before joining the governor’s campaign as scheduler, Ashley was a constituent relations manager in U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s office. She holds a Bachelor of University Studies with an emphasis in political science. Ashley and her husband, Luke, live with their daughter, Ryall, in Franklin.
The UT Martin 1968 class will celebrate their 50th reunion this year.
Check out utmforever.com for more information on the Golden Grad reunion coming fall 2018.
56 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
Brandon Ward (’04) was promoted to vice president of operations for Somerset Logistics. The announcement was made in July. Somerset Logistics is a nationwide logistics company headquartered in Murfreesboro that arranges transportation solutions throughout North America and internationally. Brandon has been with Somerset Logistics for almost 10 years and, in his new position, oversees the growth of Somerset while focusing on the company’s daily operations. Brandon is an Obion County native and a 2000 graduate of South Fulton High School. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UT Martin. He is a certified transportation broker through the Transportation Intermediaries Association and is pursuing a master’s degree in management from Middle Tennessee State University. Brandon and his wife, Magan, have two children, Harper Reese and Harrison Bright.
we want to know
in memory Names, hometowns and dates of death are noted. Names listed either attended or graduated from UT Martin, unless otherwise noted. •Rev. Harold “H.T.” Tilton Conner, of Martin, Oct. 15, 2017 (retired UT Martin administrator – story on page 12.) •Dr. Emma Catherine Deal, of Sarasota, Florida, Sept. 2, 2017. •Dr. James E. Hadden, of Franklin, Nov. 22, 2017 (retired faculty member). •Matthew Shawn Jacobs, of Centerville, Oct. 26, 2017. •Jerry Martin, of Jackson, Dec. 21, 2017. •Dr. Jere Freeman, of Cumming, Georgia, Dec. 29, 2017. •Jean Wood Liming, of Martin, March 6, 2018 (UT Junior College.) •James Sonny Melton, of Big Sandy, Oct. 1, 2017. •Norma June Pettigrew Moore, of Sharon, Sept. 16, 2017 (UT Junior College). •Kay Watkins Moreland, of Union City, Sept. 3, 2017. •Sandra Robbins, of Martin, Jan. 16, 2018. •Martha Scott, of Martin, Sept. 28, 2017 (retired administrator).
Please fill out the information below and mail it to us, or visit utmforever.com to update your address and let us know what you’ve been doing. Full Name (include maiden name, if applicable):_ ___________________________________________ Years Attended: ____________ through ___________ School/College of:_____________________ Degree(s): _______________________ Major: ________________________________________ Home Address:_________________________________ City/State/Zip:______________________ Home Phone: _ _______________________ Cell Phone: ________________________________ Occupation: _ ________________________ Business Name or Employer:____________________ Business Address: ______________________________ City/State/Zip:______________________ Your Email Address: _____________________________________________________________ Would you like your Email address published in Campus Scene? Yes q No q Full Name of Spouse: ____________________________________________________________ Did your spouse attend UT Martin? Yes q No q Years Attended: ____________ through ___________ School/College of: _____________________ Degree(s): _______________________ Major: ________________________________________ Occupation: _ ________________________ Business Name of Employer: ____________________ Business Address: ______________________________ City/State/Zip:______________________ Spouse’s Email Address: __________________________________________________________ Names and Ages of Children:______________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ Additional News (honors, promotions, etc.): ____________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ List your current hobbies: _________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ Would you consider taking an active leadership role in UT Martin alumni activities? Yes q No q Would you like this information published in Campus Scene? Yes q No q If you know anyone who may be interested in UT Martin and is a high school junior or senior, please give us his or her name and address. ___________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________ Enclose a recent color headshot photo, if possible. No low-resolution digital photos, please! Photographs cannot be returned to you. Every effort will be made to use all color headshots submitted. However, space considerations and/or photo quality may prevent us from using submitted photos in some instances. Email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fill out, clip and return this form to: UT Alumni Association – Martin Office Dunagan Alumni Center 1900 Alumni Way Martin, TN 38238
Winter/Spring 2018 57
class notes 1962
Gordon Crenshaw III (’62) has retired from Orkin Pest Control after 45 years with the business. He started his career as a termite technician in 1963 and worked his way up to vice president assistant to the president before his retirement. He was also vice president of franchise operations. He is one of the 20 original founders of the UT Martin chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. Crenshaw and his wife, Janelle Gray Chrenshaw (’62), have three children.
Sandra Rust Joganic (’63) is married with four children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Dr. Paul Blaylock (’68) was recognized as one of the “University of Tennessee’s 100 Outstanding Alumni” in 2017, as published by the Tennessee Alumnus magazine. He will also be honored in September as the “Outstanding Medical Alumnus 2018” by the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Marvin Hill (’71) is living and working in New Zealand.
Robert Hill (’73) is retired after 10 years with H.J. Baker & Bro. and more than 30 years in the livestock industry. He has created a company called Hill Consulting Services, LLC. David Warmbrod (’73) is retired after 39 years of active and reserve duty with the U.S. Army and Tennessee National Guard. He served as pitching coach for UT Martin baseball from 1971-73.
H. David Spikes (’74) retired in May 2015 after more than 45 years in photography, video and media support, ending with a 15-year stint with the Maryland Department of Public Safety. Mary Williams (’74) is retired from working with the Tipton County School System. She serves as secretary of the West Tennessee Retired Teachers Association and as assistant secretary of the Tipton County Retired Teachers Association.
Brenda Cude Brooks (’75) received the 2017 University of Georgia Center for Undergraduate Research Mentor Award and the 2017 University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences Research Mentor Award. She was also named the 2017 Direct Selling Education Foundation Educator of the Year and the 2016 American Council on Consumer Interests Honored Mentor. Opal Templeton Smith (’75) retired from the nursing profession in 2017. She has been a member of the NBA Grizzlies Grannies and Grandpas Dance Team since 2005. Her husband, Harvey Lee Smith Jr. (’78), passed away in 2015.
Rev. Joan Cooper Burnett (’76) is a lecturer at Yale Divinity School and serves as protestant chaplain and institutional religious facilitator at York Correctional Institution in Connecticut.
58 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
Dr. Aaron Hughey (’80) is the co-author of a new book titled “Helping Skills for Working with College Students: Applying Counseling Theory to Student Affairs Practice.”
Tina Crawley Mills (’84) is celebrating her company’s 25th year serving children and their families in a mental health partial hospitalization setting.
Dr. Brian Clardy (’88) won the 2016 Marshall Wingfield Award from the West Tennessee Historical Society for his article titled “Impeaching Richard Nixon: Tennessee Congressman Ed Jones, Watergate, and the Politics of Triangulation, 1973-1974.” Daniel Harstin (’88) is in his ninth year of pastoral ministry in the United Methodist Church and is currently serving the Grand Junction Charge.
Jason Beck (’97) was recently promoted to senior manager of safety and health for the corporate entity of Pinnacle Foods, a manufacturer of food products across the United States and Canada.
Deborah Sterling Gier (’00) transferred from active duty Army to the Hawaii Army National Guard in 2016. She is married with two daughters.
Wendy Lofton Sneed (’01, ’06) celebrated 10 years with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture last June. In September, she was promoted to agribusiness development consultant. She and her husband, Davy, have one daughter. Jennifer Crouch Wenz (’01, ’03) and her husband, Michael Wenz, have established the Anna Kate Wenz Fight Foundation in honor of their daughter, Anna Kate, who lost her life to cancer.
Kimberly Engle Boleyn (’02) has been promoted to special agent in charge for the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission in the Chattanooga District. Lori Greene McClain (’02, ‘16) earned a master’s degree in education in 2016, also from UT Martin.
Rick Fisher (’03) is vice president and registered principal of Nancy Barron & Associates Inc., a consulting and investment firm in Kentucky. He is also owner of a corporate tourism business and a commercial real estate company. He and his wife, Holly, have two daughters. Dr. Karoline Pershell (’03) was named the new executive director for the Association for Women in Mathematics, effective Jan. 15, 2018. She came to the AWM from her position as director of strategy and evaluation at Service Robotics & Technologies, a robotics and IoT software company currently prototyping multi-robot control systems through a National Science Foundation utmforever.com
Small Business Innovation Research grant. Pershell received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from UT Martin and was a member of the rodeo team. She also holds both master’s and doctoral degrees in theoretical mathematics from Rice University in Houston, Texas. After graduating, Pershell became an assistant professor of mathematics at UT Martin and has taught overseas at Qingdao University in China and the University of Hyderabad in India. She received the university’s 2016 Outstanding Young Alumni Award.
Bryan Sandor (’04, ’06) graduated from the University of Alabama with a doctoral degree in mathematics in spring 2017 before accepting a position as assistant professor of mathematics at Bethel University. He also has a coauthored paper accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of “The Journal of Algebra.”
Richard Rushing (’05) is director of operations at Fort Smith Regional Airport in Arkansas.
Erik Fuqua (’06) is a JAG officer with the United States Air Force and serves as the medical law consultant at Keesler Medical Center in Mississippi. His wife, Jessica (’08), received her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Tennessee State University in 2014.
Natalie Carroll Tyree (’07) is an assistant professor of art at Western Kentucky University after spending three years working with Delta State University. She also serves on the board of Number Inc., a regional arts magazine.
Christopher Inman (’09) was named the West Tennessee Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Teacher. He recently completed a term as alumni state president for the Tennessee Future Farmers of America and was selected to serve on the organization’s board of directors. Nathaniel Walters (’09) became an assistant United States attorney for the District of Arizona in September 2017. Regina VanCleave (’09) was appointed Weakley County clerk and Master Chancery Court clerk in February 2015. She is currently president of the West Tennessee Court Clerks Association and is a board member of the State Court Clerks Association of Tennessee.
Samba Diop (’10, ’12) welcomed twins Ousseynou and Astou in July 2017.
Raven King Macon (’11) married Terry Macon Jr. in October 2016.
Kimberly Rinks (’07) and her husband, Tim Rinks (’09), married in January 2010 and are expecting their first child in July 2018.
Winter/Spring 2018 59
class notes 2012
Matthew (’12) and Erin Chesnut (’12) welcomed their first child in fall 2017. Erin, a contributing Campus Scene writer, also won third place in the international Writer’s Digest 86th Annual Writing Competition’s magazine feature article category for her article titled “Standing in the Breach,” included in the winter/spring 2017 issue of Campus Scene.
Heidi Grimm Morrow (’13) and her husband, Ryan Morrow (’14), were married in September 2017. Heidi received a paralegal certification from the University of California-Irvine that December.
Chelsea Boyd (’14) graduated from law school at Ole Miss in May 2017.
Cody Lemmons (’12) is attending physical therapy school at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences.
Marianne Hassman (’14) graduated from Webster University with a dual Master of Arts degree in management and leadership. She is currently receiving a second degree in information technology management, also from Webster University.
Dane Smith (’12) is a signed Nike Athlete and professional basketball player.
Meg Lawrence (’14) graduated from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center with a master’s degree in occupational therapy.
Rachel Crinklaw (’16) recently finished a year of service with Americorps at Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Hampshire.
Alyson Gaines (’17) has started a master’s program toward a degree in clinical mental health counseling.
Want to see more of Campus Scene? Winter/Spring 2018
T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F T E N N E S S E E AT M A R T I N
T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F T E N N E S S E E AT M A R T I N
A L U M N I
SCENE A L U M N I
T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F T E N N E S S E E AT M A R T I N
M A G A Z I N E
VOLUME LXII WINTER/SPRING 2017
M A G A Z I N E
A L U M N I
VOLUME LX WINTER/SPRING 2016
M A G A Z I N E
VOLUME LXI SUMMER/FALL 2016
ness A bukesi s flight ta
story on page
You Never Walk Alone
Six UT Martin alumnae give advice on life after graduation
Go Cruisin’ with Carver A tradition of greatness,
years of UT Martin Rodeo
Visit us online at utm.edu/campusscene Take a look back at previous issues and share your favorite stories!
60 The University of Tennessee at Martin Campus Scene
one last thought STUDENT SPOTLIGHT
Ann Asipan, Iten, Kenya
Ann Asipan left her mark as a highly decorated Skyhawk runner.
When leaving her home in Iten, Kenya, Ann Asipan (’17) never dreamed she would find another place to call home some 8,000 miles away. Asipan, who majored in economics, transferred to UT Martin in 2015 on a full-ride scholarship to compete in cross country and track and field. Although she humbly says she was not much of a runner before coming to UT Martin, Asipan’s abilities are not surprising for a student from Iten, which is considered the running capitol of Kenya. In her time at UT Martin, Asipan broke several school records before becoming UTM’s first OVC individual cross country campion in 2015. She would go on to earn the same honor in 2016.
Because of her speed and athleticism, Asipan was also rewarded with AllAmerican honorable mention honors by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association – a first for the Skyhawks. “We are so proud of Ann and all that she has achieved,” said Peter Dalton, head coach, UT Martin cross country and track and field. “She deserves all the credit for her amazing career as a Skyhawk. There are many challenges for any student-athlete; however, those challenges become more pronounced when you leave everything you’ve ever known. Ann’s maturity and determination combined to result in her meeting each challenge, on and off the
track, head-on, without breaking stride,” he said. Perhaps Asipan’s biggest accomplishment was earning a degree in economics in December 2017. “This is a big deal … coming from Kenya, and getting a degree in the United States,” she said. “That’s a big accomplishment for me, and that’s the main reason I came here.” Asipan credits the connections she made with her professors as a big part of her academic success. “The professors are social, and helpful, and it has been really good for me,” she said. Read more of her story at utm.edu/ campusscene.
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